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New beer law might not allow brewers to sell pints of full-strength beer

Craft brewers gather at Krebs Brewing Company to make a special beer to promote the modernization of Oklahoma's alcohol laws on Jan. 19, 2016 in Krebs, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman
Craft brewers gather at Krebs Brewing Company to make a special beer to promote the modernization of Oklahoma's alcohol laws on Jan. 19, 2016 in Krebs, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

After going back and forth on the issue, it appears the Oklahoma ABLE Commision intends to block Oklahoma breweries from selling full-strength beer by the pint as part of a new state law that goes into effect next week.   

While Oklahoma wineries have long been able to sell their products on-site, craft brewers have been limited so far to selling 3.2 beer on premises. Breweries have been able to provide customers up to 12-ounce samples of full-strength beer. To sell full-strength beer, Oklahoma brewers have had to go through a wholesaler, which then distributes the product to liquor stores.  

The new law, Senate Bill 424, is scheduled to go into effect Aug. 25, and several local craft brewers had celebrations planned, including a tour of local breweries on a party bus. Under the new law, craft breweries believed they would be able to sell full-strength beer to visitors by the pint, as well as bottles, cans and growlers for customers to take home. 

Sean Mossman, director of sales and marketing at Oklahoma City-based COOP Ale Works told me Thursday that after going back and forth on the issue, the ABLE Commission has told brewers  that it is interpreting the new law in such a way that will not allow for brewers to sell full-strength beer by the pint at their taprooms.  The loss of sales for on-premises consumption would be a huge loss to Oklahoma's growing craft brewery scene.

I was unable to contact anyone at the Oklahoma Able Commission late Thursday, as the news reached me after hours.  

The ABLE Commission's proposed stance on full-strength pints was first reported by the Thirsty Beagle blog. 

Craft brewers said they plan to speak out on the issue during the public comments segment of  the next  ABLE Commission meeting, scheduled for 10 a.m Friday at the agency, 3812 N. Santa Fe.  I plan to cover the meeting, which you can follow on my Twitter feed. 

Related Photos
Craft brewers gather at Krebs Brewing Company to make a special beer to promote the modernization of Oklahoma's alcohol laws on Jan. 19, 2016 in Krebs, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

Craft brewers gather at Krebs Brewing Company to make a special beer to promote the modernization of Oklahoma's alcohol laws on Jan. 19, 2016 in Krebs, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-f8b18c404d67ac8b47c8849182833821.jpg" alt="Photo - Craft brewers gather at Krebs Brewing Company to make a special beer to promote the modernization of Oklahoma's alcohol laws on Jan. 19, 2016 in Krebs, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman" title="Craft brewers gather at Krebs Brewing Company to make a special beer to promote the modernization of Oklahoma's alcohol laws on Jan. 19, 2016 in Krebs, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Craft brewers gather at Krebs Brewing Company to make a special beer to promote the modernization of Oklahoma's alcohol laws on Jan. 19, 2016 in Krebs, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure>
Brianna Bailey

Brianna Bailey joined The Oklahoman in January 2013 as a business writer. During her time at The Oklahoman, she has walked across Oklahoma City twice, once north-to-south down Western Avenue, and once east-to-west, tracing the old U.S. Route 66.... Read more ›

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